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As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs prepare to face off in Super Bowl LV, it has been 35 years since the Chicago Bears last won a Super Bowl. It’s also been 14 years since they last played in a Super Bowl back in 2006.
There’s a myriad of reasons why this team has been stuck in a rut for the last few decades, which starts at the top with ownership and trickles down to issues at quarterback and on offense overall.
While it sounds silly to even talk about the Bears making a Super Bowl in the near future, here’s what would need to happen for it to happen.
Fix the quarterback position
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It's simple: The Bears would become instant Super Bowl contenders if they were able to land quarterback Deshaun Watson. While trading for Watson isn't technically an option right now, as Houston remains firm on their intent not to trade their franchise quarterback, the Bears need to fix the quarterback problem that has haunted this franchise for the better part of the last few decades. It seems that Ryan Pace has finally realized the error of his ways and appears primed to move on from Mitchell Trubisky, but the question remains who will be the starter come 2021. Right now, it sounds like it could be Carson Wentz, who is on the trade block and has received interest from the Bears. If not, Chicago would almost certainly have to move up in the NFL draft to grab a top-tier quarterback that won't be around come pick 20. The Bears have already been big players in the quarterback market this offseason, as Pace and Matt Nagy's jobs literally depend on finding an answer at the position.
Dominant effort by defense
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While the Bears defense wasn't terrible, they were a far cry from the dominant unit they were just a couple of seasons ago with most of the same talent in place. Chicago's defense regressed in 2020, and they allowed 26.8 points in the final six regular-season games. The pass rush needs to improve, which starts with Robert Quinn living up to his contract, and the defense needs to generate more takeaways. With Sean Desai being promoted to defensive coordinator, the hope is this defense can return to glory, as he's someone that helped Vic Fangio craft this defense and is quite familiar with his scheme and this personnel. He'll know how to get the most out of these players, and the hope is that translates to the field.
Re-sign Allen Robinson
AP Photo/Jim Mone
Allen Robinson has been the best player on the Bears offense for the last three seasons, and his impact would garner more recognition if he was on a better team. Robinson has posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons amid some pretty horrid offensive outings, and he's been a consummate professional along the way. And yet, here we are with Robinson a free agent heading into the offseason. Although there is another way for Robinson to remain with the Bears in 2021, which includes using the franchise tag, something that likely wouldn't go over well with Robinson. After all, Robinson made it clear that, before this mess of a season with negotiations, that he wanted to remain in Chicago for the long haul. That is, until Pace disrespected him and failed to get a contract extension done. The Bears need to do whatever it takes to retain Robinson -- admit their wrongdoings and pay Robinson what he's worthy of. Because this offense was already terrible. Just imagine it without him.
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
It doesn't need to be said that Pace and Nagy are downright desperate this season. They've been gifted another season by a franchise that appears content with mediocrity. If Pace and Nagy want to save their jobs, they're going to need to step outside their comfort zones. We already saw that last season when Nagy gave up play-calling duties and went back to Trubisky at quarterback, admitting his mistakes earlier in the season. But he soon went back to his old ways as he was more involved in play-calling. And, unlike last season, Pace and Nagy need to be held accountable for their decisions. None of this praising a six-game losing streak for helping this team remain together. Another mediocre season with or without making the postseason should spell the end of them.
Remain as healthy as possible
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
This is something that's a little harder to control than the other aspects. After all, the Bears were pretty much healthy for the majority of their 2018 run, which ended with a loss in the wild-card round. But injuries, especially on defense, were late-season blows. The cornerback position was jinxed from the start with Artie Burns and Tre Roberson out before the regular season, and even rookie Jaylon Johnson missed the final four games of the season with a shoulder injury. Even late injuries to linebacker Roquan Smith and receiver Darnell Mooney were blows to Chicago in the postseason. While production is important when it comes to making a playoff run, staying healthy is also important. It's something that you can't control, but you can help yourself by finding some good depth pieces along the way. Something that should be a focus for the Bears this offseason.
Beat the Packers
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
Despite Green Bay's inability to win when it counts in the NFC Championship, if the Bears want to make it to the Super Bowl, they're going to need to go through their divisional rivals that have long been their kryptonite. The Bears have gone 4-19 against the Packers since 2010, which remains one of the biggest frustrations with this franchise. And it's not just the Packers, although they're the biggest threat. Chicago needs to take care of business in the division. After going 9-3 against the NFC North from 2018-2019, the Bears lost four divisional games last season. Chicago needs to get back on track against the NFC North to have any chance of making the postseason and contending.
Actually win a playoff game
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If the Bears have any hope of actually contending for a Super Bowl, they're going to have to break a 10-year drought where they haven't won a playoff game since 2010. While they've made the postseason twice in the last three years, they're 0-2 in those games. But of course, actually winning a playoff game means that the Bears would have a competent team that didn't manage to sneak into the postseason. Obviously, 2018 remains the outlier, as they should've won that wild-card game against the Eagles if not for a vicious double-doink missed field goal that will live on in infamy.